John Bertolini

Ellis Professor of English and Liberal Arts

 Fall Term: Monday and Tuesday 3:00-4:00, Wednesday and Thursday 1:30-2:30, and by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 312

Professor Bertolini gives the Faculty address at the 2007 Senior Awards Ceremony:

JOHN A. BERTOLINI, Professor of English and Film, Middlebury College

Born Dec.1, 1947; Married, 2 children. 66 Morningside Drive, Middlebury, VT 05753

Graduated from Brooklyn Preparatory School, 6/65
B.A. Manhattan College, 6/69
M.A. Columbia University, 6/70
Ph.D. Columbia University, 5/75
Dissertation: "Dramaturgy in Italian and French Renaissance Tragedy"

Manhattan College, Shakespeare play director, 9/69

College of New Rochelle, directed two plays, 2/69 and 9/70

Columbia College, Preceptor in English 9/72-6/73

Barnard College, Instructor Renaissance Studies, spring, 1974

Middlebury College, Assistant Professor of English, 9/75-6/82; Associate Professor, 6/82-6/88

Professor, 6/89-present; full-time teaching: lecture and writing courses; seminars; theses, etc.

Member ALSC, 1996-

Chair, Program in Film, 1990

Chair, Program in Literary Studies, 1981-83, 1986-88, 1991-92, 1994-96

Appointed to Chair as Ellis Professor of the Liberal Arts, 1997

Wonnacott Commons Associate, 1998-99

Chair, English Dept., 1999-2001; Literary Studies 1999-2000


Member ALSC, 1996-

Member editorial board of SHAW Annual (Penn State U.P.), 1994-

President Vermont Association of Scholars, 1994-2000; member NAS, 1994-

Member MLA, 1980-2001

Founding Member and Advisory Council, International Shaw Society, 2001-


Man and Superman and Three Other Plays, Intro. And Notes. Barnes & Noble, 2004.  Also published as E-book, 2009.
Pygmalion and Three Other Plays. Intro. And Notes. Barnes & Noble, 2004. Also published as E-book, 2009.
Shaw and Other Playwrights. Ed. Vol. 13 of SHAW: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies . The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.
The Playwrighting Self of Bernard Shaw . Southern Illinois University Press, 1991. Reviewed in Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, etc.


Program note for Major Barbara, Middlebury College, October 2010.
Psycho at Fifty: Pure Cinema or Invitation to an Orgy?, New England Review, Volume 31, Number 3 / 2010.
Program essay: “After the Dance Comes the Reckoning” in After the Dance Program. Shaw Festival, Ontario Canada, July 2008
Also published in NER, V.29, n.2 (2008), pp.35-37
Also published in Shaw Magazine, Fall, 2008, pp.2-5
Program Note for Stoppard’s Jumpers, Middlebury College, April, 2008
“Wilde and Shakespeare in Shaw’s You Never Can Tell,” in SHAW, 27 (pp.156-164). The Pennsylvania State U.P., 2007.
Program essay: “Welcome to Feydeauville” in Hotel Peccadillo program, Shaw Festival, Ontario, Canada, June 2007.
“Shaw Responds to Shaw-bashing,” in SHAW 25 (pp.127-134). The Pennsylvania State U. P., 2005 (originally given at ISS Shaw Conference at USF, March, 2003) .
“Tennessee Williams” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature (pp.410-419), ed. Jay Parini. Oxford U.P., 2004.
Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw,” in British Writers’ Classics, ed. Jay Parini (pp. 197-213). Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003.
Reprint of “Rear Window, or the Reciprocated Glance” in Framing Hitchcock ed. Sidney Gottlieb. Wayne State University Press, 2002.
“Don Juan’s Past and the Future of the Human Species” New England Review (ed. Stephen Donadio) 23:2, pp.44-47, Spring, 2002
“Terence Rattigan” in British Writers: Retrospective Supplement VII. ED. Jay Parini. Scribner’s, 2002.
“George Bernard Shaw” in British Writers: Retrospective Supplement II. Ed. Jay Parini. Scribner’s, 2002.
Chapter on Man and Superman (from Playwrighting Self) reprinted in George Bernard Shaw’s Plays, ed. Sandie Byrne. A Norton Critical Edition, 2002.
Program Notes for productions of Tartuffe, Arcadia, Don Juan in Hell, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead , Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Middlebury College, 1994-2002.
"Shaw Family Values" in SHAW 16. ed. Dan H. Laurence and Margot Peters. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996.
"Rear Window, or the Reciprocated Glance," in The Hitchcock Annual (1995), pp.55-75.
Review --Essay: "London Dramaturgy" on Shaw's drama criticism, in ELT (1994), pp.70-81
"Introduction: Shaw as Mimic and Model" and "Finding Something New to Say: Rattigan Eludes Shaw." SHAW 13. The Pennsylvania State U.P., 1993, pp.1-7, 93-102.
Entries for Henry Sweet, Constance Wilde, and Frank Harris. The Encyclopedia of the 1890s . Garland, 1992.
"The Doctor's Dilemma: The Art of Undoing." Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies 7: The Neglected Plays. Ed. Alfred Turco, Jr. 1987, pp.151-169.
"Imagining Saint Joan." Shaw. Ed. Daniel Leary. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1983, pp.149-161.
Rpt. in Man and Superman and Saint Joan . The MacMillan Casebook. Ed. A. M. Gibbs. 1991.

Also rpt. in Major Literary Characters: Joan of Arc . Ed. Harold Bloom. Chelsea House, 1992.

Also rpt. in George Bernard Shaw (Modern Critical Views), ed. Harold Bloom. Chelsea House, 2010.
Chapter on Pygmalion (from Playwrighting Self ) reprinted in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (Gale), 1992.
"Fringe and Alternative Theatre in Great Britain." Dictionary of Literary Biography l3. British Dramatists Since World War II, Part 2: M‑Z. BC Research, 1982.
"Shaw's Ironic View of Caesar." Twentieth Century Literature (winter, 1981) Ed. William McBrien, pp.331-342.
Rpt. in Major Literary Characters: Julius Caesar. Ed. Harold Bloom. Chelsea House, 1992.
"Ecphrasis and Dramaturgy: Leonardo's Leda in Rucellai's Oreste." Renaissance Drama VII (1977). Ed. Joel Kaplan. Northwestern U.P., pp.151-176.


Paper: “Shakespeare’s Shadow and Wilde’s Art in Shaw’s You Never Can Tell,” given at ISS Shaw Conference, Brown University, June, 2006 (in revised and extended version, SHAW 27, 2007 .

Graduation Address to Seniors at Awards Ceremony, Middlebury College, May, 2007

Lecture: The Can Can in Cinema (Middlebury College, Spring 2007)

Paper: “Shaw Responds to Shaw-bashing,” given at ISS Shaw Conference at USF, March, 2003) .

Lecture: “The Wisdom of You Never Can Tell” (with Q and A sessions) given at Shaw Festival during 4-day subscription Seminar, August, 2005.

Keynote lecture on the Don Juan tradition at Middlebury College International Symposium on Don Juan and Seduction, April, 2002.

Lecture: “Common Sense about Heartbreak House” given at Shaw Festival during 4-day Shaw subscription seminar, July, 1999; also participated in Q&A sessions

Abernathy lecture: “Hitchcock’s Signature Appearances and What They Mean (or Rumors of La Morte D’Auteur Greatly Exaggerated),” Middlebury College, Spring, 1999

Graduation address to Februaryy Seniors, 1999

Inaugural lecture for Ellis Chair: “Terence Rattigan and the Fate of Modern British Drama,” Middlebury College, 1998

Lecture and Discussion on Shakespeare’s The Tempest to students and staff of LI101, Middlebury College, 1997 and 1999

Presentation of scene from Ozu’s Early Spring at Japanese film symposium, Middlebury College, 1997

Lecture: “How to Know Which Movies Are Good or Bad: An Introduction to Film Appreciation,” Thomas Fellowship, 1997, and Wonnacott Commons, 1998

Panel Presentation on Sense and Sensibility at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1997

Lecture (joint with Mary Ellen Bertolini) on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility as film and novel, Middlebury College, 1997

Lecture on Shaw’s The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles and participant on various panels, as guest scholar at The Shaw Festival, Ontario, Canada, 1996

Panel Presentation for NAS on Political Correctness, Assumption College, 1996

Presentation of a Scene from Poil de Carotte at French Film Symposium, Middlebury College, 1996

Introduction to French Opera, Middlebury College, 1995

Presentation of scene from High Noon at Westerns Symposium, Middlebury College, 1995

Presentation of scene from 8 1/2 at Fellini Symposium, Middlebury College, 1994

Lecture: "Introduction to Italian Opera" for the Italian Club public meeting, fall 1993.

2 panels of new Shaw scholars. Chair. Virginia Tech Conference on "Shaw and the Last Hundred Years." Nov. 1992.

Lecture on Shakespeare and Shaw at Lincoln College. Oxford University, 1990.

Performance/reading of dramatic scenes. Middlebury Alumni College, Summer 1987 and Hawthorne Literary Society, Middlebury, 1989.

Lecture on Rear Window . Middlebury Alumni College, 1988.

Paper on Pygmalion. MLA, 1987.


Member editorial board of the SHAW Annual (Penn State U. Press), 1994-

Research towards and writing of a manuscript on the plays of Terence Rattigan.

Articles on Alfred Hitchcock.

Reviews appearing regularly in ELT, SHAW, and other journals.

Solicited to be reader of manuscripts by University Presses (Michigan, Susquehanna, Florida State)

Solicited to speak at Berkshire Drama Festival

Solicited to apply for chairmanship of the Drama Dept. at Indiana University


Served on the Curriculum Committee, Educational Council, Library Committee

College Service:

Adviser to the American Film Club, 1976-1980

Adviser to the Republicans at Middlebury College, 2007-



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CRWR0560 - Special Project: Writing      

Special Project: Creative Writing
Approval Required.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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CRWR0701 - Senior Thesis:Creative Writing      

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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CRWR0711 - Senior Thesis: Creative Writ.      

Senior Thesis: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking two-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. (Formerly ENAM 0711)

Spring 2013, Fall 2013

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ENAM0103 - Reading Literature      

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions. CW LIT

Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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ENAM0204 - Foundations of English Lit.      

Foundations of English Literature (I) (Pre-1800)
Students will study Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as other foundational works of English literature that may include Shakespeare, non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, the poetry of Donne, and other 16th- and 17th-century poetry. 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LIT

Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017

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ENAM0239 / FMMC0239 - The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock      

The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock
The cinematic artistry of Alfred Hitchcock in a dozen of his major films (mainly from the 1950s, including North by Northwest, Psycho, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, Vertigo) with attention to Hitchcock's style and technique, his obsessive images (such as dangling over the abyss), and his characteristic themes (the transfer of guilt, the double, etc.) and with a focus on the figure of the artist in Hitchcock's work. Issues such as the relationship of film to narrative fiction and to dramatic literature will also be explored. 3 hrs. lect./disc./screening ART LIT NOR

Spring 2015

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ENAM0260 - Modern British Drama      

Style and Ideas in Modern British Drama (II)
During the 19th century the craft of Shakespeare devolved into mere popular entertainment, but in the1890s Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw re-established drama as literature, to be taken as seriously as the best poetry and fiction. In Ireland, Lady Gregory, Synge, and O’Casey critiqued the moral condition of their nation. And in the 1930s T.S. Eliot used his poetic power to revive verse drama, while Noel Coward and Terence Rattigan created comedies and dramas that used the style/form of dialogue in newly expressive ways. We will explore the superb art and craft of playwriting by these masters of dramatic form. EUR LIT

Spring 2013, Fall 2016

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ENAM0261 - Contemporary British Drama      

Contemporary British Drama: 1950 to the Present
Analysis of the language, style, dramaturgy, and meaning of plays by Rattigan, Beckett, Osborne, Pinter, Shaffer, Gray, Bolt, and Stoppard, with some attention paid to contemporary British cinema. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc./3hrs. screen EUR LIT

Fall 2013

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ENAM0262 - American Drama 1930-1960      

American Drama 1930-1960 (AL)
The 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s saw an unparalleled achievement in dramatic literature as the works of Eugene O'Neill, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and William Inge were produced. This course will seek to analyze their plays both as dramatic art and in some cases as responses to social and political context. We will study film versions of the plays, as well as additional films that respond to themes in the plays, films such as High Noon and On the Waterfront. 3 hrs. lect./disc. ART LIT NOR

Fall 2015

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ENAM0331 - Shakespeare's Comedies      

Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances (I)
Close analysis and appreciation of the development of Shakespeare’s comic vision of courtship, love, and marriage, from his earliest comedies, The Comedy of Errors, Taming of the Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, through the major comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night, to the final romances, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.
3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. disc./screen. EUR LIT

Fall 2012

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ENAM0332 - Shakespeare's Histories      

Shakespeare's Tragedies and Histories (I) (Pre-1800)
An intensive consideration of language, style, character, and structure, first in Shakespeare's epic history-play cycle, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, and then in the major tragedies, Hamlet, King Lear, and Anthony and Cleopatra. 3 hrs. lect.; disc; screening EUR LIT

Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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ENAM0406 - Shaw, Stoppard:the Play Ideas      

Seminar: Shaw, Stoppard and the Play of Ideas
In the 1890s Bernard Shaw introduced into British drama the play of ideas—a play which takes as its theme a social or philosophical problem—and combined it with the traditions of farce and high comedy to create an idiosyncratic kind of drama. For the pasts three decades Tom Stoppard has continued that tradition of wit and intellectual comedy. This seminar will study closely how these two playwrights have given vital form to the play of ideas in a dozen of their major plays. 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2015

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ENAM0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENAM0700 - Senior Thesis:Critical Writing      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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ENAM0710 - Senior Thesis: Critical Writ.      

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking two-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the thesis workshop (ENAM 710z) in both Fall and Spring terms.

Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014

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ENAM1023 / FMMC1023 - Cinema of William Wyler      

The Cinema of William Wyler
Among the pantheon of classic Hollywood directors William Wyler occupies a highly honored position: his films have won more academy awards than those of any other director (3 times Best Director for himself), and they span an extraordinary range of genres—spectacle (Ben Hur), western (The Big Country), novel adaptation (Wuthering Heights), play adaptation (The Letter), romantic comedy (Roman Holiday), musical (Funny Girl), crime (Dead End), and especially, human drama (The Best Years of Our Lives, Friendly Persuasion). We will study these films as examples of imaginative visual storytelling and visual dramatization: how the camera behaves and how images are arranged as a sequence to create meaning and feeling. Wyler’s themes are many, but after his experiences in WWII, Wyler focused on the question of pacifism vs. the grounds that make war necessary, as well as the concomitant question of justice vs. revenge. Each of Wyler’s films represents a unique achievement in the art of cinema and in the art of acting. ART NOR WTR

Winter 2015

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FYSE1114 - Classic Comedy      

Classic Comedy: Drama, Film, Theory
What is comedy? What are its values and view of life? What makes things funny? Why do we laugh and at what? What should or should not be ridiculed? In this seminar we will consider classic comedies and ideas about comedy from Aristophanes through Shakespeare, Moliere, and Shaw, to Stoppard, with comparisons to classic comedies of American cinema and other forms of comic expression. Having a sense of humor is a prerequisite of this seminar. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT

Spring 2016

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LITS0500 - Independent Research Project      

Independent Research Project
(Approval Required) (Staff)

Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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LITS0510 - Independent Essay Project      

Independent Essay Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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LITS0700 - Senior Comprehensive Exam      

Senior Comprehensive Exam
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the written section of the senior comprehensive examinations.

Winter 2013, Winter 2016

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LITS0701 - Independent Reading Course      

Independent Reading Course
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the senior comprehensive examinations. At the conclusion of this course, students will take a one-hour oral examination (part of the senior comprehensive examination) in a specialization of their choice. (Approval Required) (Staff)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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LITS0705 / ENAM0705 - Senior Colloquium      

Senior Colloquium in Literary Studies
Although it is required of all Literary Studies senior majors, this course is intended for students working in any discipline who seek a close encounter with some of the greatest achievements of the literary imagination. In addition to being understood as distinctive artistic and philosophical accomplishments, the six major works which constitute the reading list will also be seen as engaged in a vital, overarching cultural conversation across temporal and geographical boundaries that might otherwise seem insurmountable. The texts for this semester are: Homer, The Odyssey; Tolstoy, War and Peace; Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov; Mann, The Magic Mountain; Proust, Swann’s Way; Joyce, Ulysses. (Open to non-majors with the approval of the instructor.) 3 hrs., seminar.

Fall 2013

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LITS0710 - Senior Honors Essay      

Senior Honors Essay
(Approval Required)

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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Department of English & American Literatures

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753